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Tuesday, 27 July, 2021

PDVSA using foreign partners to circumvent US oil sanctions

According to documents seen by Reuters, Venezuelan oil shipments are being transported in tankers on behalf of private-sector middlemen to pay for debts incurred by the national oil company.


State oil company PDVSA is using its partners in international joint ventures to transport crude oil and this way evade sanctions imposed by the US government which are undercutting its exports.

News agency Reuters described the mechanism: using intermediaries such as US oil Company Chevron to send shipments to Asia and Africa without entering in conflict with US sanctions and then using the revenue to cover outstanding debts.

This way Chevron which holds a minority stake in an Orinoco oil belt project through Petropiar has programmed the delivery this month of one million oil barrels from Puerto Jose, in Anzoategui State, Eastern Venezuela, of which some 670,000 barrels have been sent already of the Boscan and Tia Juana crude types.

Also, during the last quarter of 2019, the US company took two cargoes of Boscan and Merey crude.

These private partners transported Venezuelan crude in tankers hired by them to a destination and, once the payments have been made, the revenue is transferred to a previously set-up trust fund by the joint ventures to cover costs, pay debts and divvy up revenue between the partners.

“It’s a matter of life or death for the joint ventures to be able to do this to resume operations”, an executive in a joint venture told Reuters.

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Even if PDVSA has seen operations reduced by 32% because of sanctions, the US allows the Nicolas Maduro regime certain operating licenses to cover debts with oil and to obtain liquid fuels also by bartering with crude oil. However, the interim government led by National Assembly President Juan Guaido has exerted pressure on Washington so that the sanctions are extended to the intermediaries in the Maduro-PDVSA sanctions-busting scheme.

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